The Miracle Club

The Miracle Club
The Miracle Club
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Despite the image we have of strong women, it is usually not associated with fear but in reality even the hardest amongst them when confronted with weakness arising from overpowering uncertainties will at one point rely on faith. This involves either having trust in a higher power or depending on a loyal group of friends since every strong woman knows that there are always sources of strength which are found beyond feet.

It features three old friends who come together with someone from their past in a 1967 film, The Miracle Club. I love the cast.

The characters are Lily (Maggie Smith) , Eileen (Kathy Bates), and Dolly (Agnes O’Casey), They live in Ballygar, a densely populated part of Dublin. However, individually but collectively they face issues such as ill health, muteness and grieving for a dead child. They all support each other but what they wish for is to make it to Lourdes where miracles happen.

Similar to Jewish people’s journey to the Western Wall or Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem or Muslims’ Hajj for those who follow Catholicism this annual trip to Lourdes is taken so that they can get their long awaited miracle which apparently is associated with being French. This was also seen by women in the 1960s as an opportunity to be free from ordinary household duties, as evidenced by The Miracle Club. There is much more than expected for this particular group.

Before going on her own trip back home after four decades away in England, Chrissie (Laura Linney – You Can Count On Me) does not shed any tears when burying her estranged mother Maureen who had been intended as the fourth member of this team’s trip into town. She shows up without invitation taking Maureen’s place among her other reluctant companions and immediately just does not fit in.

Her presence marks a new beginning on the path towards healing unsaid traumas and buried betrayals, as depicted by some of the most iconic actress in American history. She was ostracized and re-socialized in America for too long, now she is part of the beginning that is healing from unseen wounds and buried betrayals.

When you speak of issues related to Smith, you do not have to mention her voice. Her mannequin like face and reactions are one thing less able actors cannot use for subtext. There are those who argue that Smith’s scenes are what viewers remember most about this film. Linney is lucky enough to have done some wonderful scenes with Smith because they compliment each other beautifully.

Linney does a great job here as usual; her scenes with Maggie Smith were just fabulous. But I think Bates steals every scene she’s in – she is such an actress!

It is fair to note then, perhaps, that O’Casey, the youngest of the group, isn’t at all a weak link to this ensemble. While acting in scenes with such iconic talent, she never wavers for a second in her confidence. O’Casey holds her own with ease and doesn’t even appear as though she is trying too hard to keep up with everyone else. What impresses me is that in every scene O’Casey does not act like she has anything to prove frankly speaking. That is what this movie gets its strength from since the writers don’t either.

The Miracle Club isn’t particularly surprising about anything at all. This film targets those moviegoers who do not require narrative frills and acrobatic hijinks to laugh out loud. Thus, it becomes a refreshing revisit into intricate simplicity where a story could simply evolve and without having formulaic plot points.

Moreover, there are also no special effects or gratuitous camera tricks. Thaddeus O’Sullivan, an Irish filmmaker who has received awards as a director was too classy for such things in his approach – besides; it’s about reconciliation.

Smallhorne adapted the screenplay from his own story alongside Timothy Prager and Joshua D. Maurer’s The Miracle Club boasts an astonishing cast which will make audiences remember them if they only recite alphabet.

Abortion might be one of the reasons some viewers will just turn away by thinking it is unnecessary on one hand while on stronger hand it looks more timely ever than before to look back on how much (or little) progress has been made regarding this issue.

The comedy is light and easy; The Miracle Club makes us think of some kind of classic return rather than something new-fangled again. It gives us a slice of reality containing authentic but imperfect families made up of women who are each doing their best in their way to survive with just a little bit of hope and strength, a whole lot of faith and friendship. One thing is for sure we can never have enough forgiveness-themed movies these days. For that reason alone it would be worth watching The Miracle Club.

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